FAST MASTERS. PROFESSIONAL RACING DRIVER MARCO WITTMANN AND THE BMW M3.

Marco Wittmann was born in Fürth, Bavaria in 1989. The popular pro racer was a motorsport fan from an early age. His career as a works driver with BMW Motorsport began in 2012 and just a year later he was named Rookie of the Year. He claimed the DTM championship crown for the first time in 2014 and in 2016 became the youngest driver ever to win the title twice. His diary may be full to bursting, but Wittmann still finds time to drop in on us at BMW headquarters in his new BMW M3 with BMW M Performance Parts. What better time to ask him to compare it with an original BMW M3 (E30).

Of course, the first thing we want to ask Marco is how the 2018 season is going. He is very open about getting off to a comparatively weak start in Hockenheim, but also points to his good performances subsequently (at the Lausitzring, for example). Wins in Budapest and at the Norisring saw him back on top form, the latter victory at his home track providing the highlight of his season so far – and an emotional one at that.

Motorsport: a family tradition.

Marco’s involvement in motorsport began at an early age. His father had driven karts and both his grandfather and great-uncle were keen hill-climb racers. With petrol so clearly running though the Wittmann veins, it’s no surprise the young Marco took up karting at the age of six. In addition, the family’s long-standing ties to BMW meant there was all the greater cause for celebration when Marco joined the Bavarian brand as a works driver.

Fast and fabulous. The BMW M3.

Up to June 2018, Wittmann’s M3 provided him with a street-legal alternative to his DTM car. His smile immediately betrays how much he likes it. “The new M3 is a superbly sporty car. I find it great fun to drive every day because I like to press on behind the wheel. And the M3 just looks stunning, especially with the M Performance Parts fitted. M Performance Parts is also the official sponsor of the BMW teams competing in the DTM.”

Standing next to this latest edition of the M3, the original E30 cuts an almost slight and delicate figure. Yet this fine example of the “ur M3” – built from 1986 to 1991 – is no shrinking violet. Indeed, its bulging front and rear wings mark out the most successful touring car of all time. Now long since a collector’s item, its value appears to be rising inexorably. We ask Marco about the differences between then and now: “A lot has changed, of course,” he explains. “Take the switch from a naturally aspirated engine to the turbo, for example. It was a big change, but from my point of view, it was right. Of course, there are still those who are against it, but I see it as something very positive. Its power delivery and torque are phenomenal and BMW M GmbH has done a great job on the suspension, too.”

Fitter, tougher, more dedicated. Professional racing drivers today.

We also want to ask Marco Wittmann for his views on how motorsport has changed. “I don’t think all the racing drivers back then were as fit as we are today. There were lots of parties and they took a rather more laid-back approach to life. The level of competition wasn’t as intense either. Today, you can’t afford to make any mistakes or step out of line. Social media is such a big thing nowadays that you’re effectively being watched all the time.”

In addition to his passion for motorsport, Marco enjoys driving historic cars and classic racers, and taking them to their limits from time to time. Having trained as a bodywork specialist, he has the skills to restore them himself. The flame red BMW M3 that joined us for our meeting ticks all the right boxes for him – not only on account of its legendary status, but also because it is such fun to drive.

The meeting over, Marco Wittmann leaves with our best wishes for the final race in the DTM. Who knows what fine stories the speed king will have to recount next time he drops by.

 

YouTube tip: Marco Wittmann at the Norisring, 2018. It was a home race for the driver from Fürth, who had waited a long time to taste victory at the track.    

BMW works driver Marco Wittmann and the BMW M3. Outstanding cars and an outstanding pro racer.    

A selfie with two dream cars. The latest BMW M3 is a firm favourite with racing driver Marco Wittmann, who regards it as the perfect all-rounder. M Performance Parts is also the official sponsor of the BMW teams competing in the DTM.

The design of the BMW M3 follows the zeitgeist, but the sense of excitement never fades. The original BMW M3 E30 has long since acquired cult status and commands collector’s prices.

As a trained bodywork specialist, Marco Wittmann has a professional’s eye for detail. Cars have fascinated him since childhood.    

The latest BMW M3 impresses with an array of details lifted straight from the world of motorsport. The M Performace light alloy wheels provide a clear view of the car’s high-performance brake system.    

The 325i Touring is painted in its original Lazur Blue metallic, which sometimes looks blue and sometimes purple.

The first BMW M3 had a specially designed rear with a more heavily raked rear window and a large spoiler.

Look back and hanker. The original BMW M3 E30 enjoys cult status and commands high prices.    

Destined to be a sought-after future classic, especially with the M Performance Parts fitted. The latest M3 cuts a fine figure on a visit to BMW Group Classic at BMW’s Munich headquarters.